GARY | There simply wasn't much Kouts could do to figure out Justin Landgrebe.
The Washington Township pitcher hurled 6 2/3 innings of three-hit baseball, striking out eight batters to help his team defeat the Mustangs 10-1 in the RailCats High School Challenge, earning himself MVP honors for the game.
"I felt great. This is a nice ballpark to be in," said Landgrebe, who also doubled and walked in the game. "The whole game, I was ready to come out and pitch,"
That confident approach to his outing didn't go unnoticed from coach Randy Roberts, who admitted Landgrebe has now begun to pitch instead of just throw the ball.
"This is his best game (this season)," Roberts said. "The other times, he threw too many pitches. As the game wore on, the better he got. He was a pitcher the last few innings."
For Kouts, it was a game of sloppy fielding and cold bats. The Mustangs committed three errors and (3-1, 0-1 PCC) recorded their only run when Evan Blonn led off the second inning with a triple. Andrew Birky then reached on an error, allowing Blonn to score easily.
"With Landgrebe pitching, he took us out of it early," Kouts coach Matt Weston said. "Our defense has been good. You had errors mixed in with too many walks (11), and you can't beat anybody that way."
The Senators (4-1, 1-0 PCC) were consistent offensively, scoring in all but two innings. The biggest damage came in the fourth inning, when consecutive RBI singles from Ryan Geberin and Greg Fadell helped the Senators climb ahead 6-1 before adding two insurance runs in the fifth and seventh innings.
However, Roberts realized there were still some missed opportunities, including the first inning when Bob Ross grounded into an inning-ending double play.
"We scored 10 runs, so I'm happy with that, but I also felt there were a number of times we kind of let them off the hook," Roberts said. "With people in scoring position, you've got to do whatever it takes to score them. That's something we'll work on."